Ex-Morecambe maths teacher banned after 'grooming' teenage girl

A former Morecambe teacher has been banned 'indefinitely' from teaching after sending explicit videos to a schoolgirl and asking her to come to school wearing no underwear.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:04 pm
Anthony Shaw was a teacher at Morecame High School, now Morecambe Bay Academy, from 2006 until 2013.

Anthony Shaw, now 40, was employed as a maths teacher at Morecambe High School (now Morecambe Bay Academy) at the time of the accusation.

A professional conduct panel found the historic allegation of sexual misconduct was proven after hearing the evidence of the girl, who was referred to only as Pupil A.

The offences concerned social media messages sent by Mr Shaw between 2008 and 2010 which were originally investigated by police in 2012, although no formal action was taken until the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) began investigations in 2019.

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Sarah Buxcey, of the Department for Education, has now made the decision to ban Mr Shaw indefinitely, after reviewing a professional conduct panel into his actions held in November.

Mr Shaw worked at Morecambe High School as a mathematics teacher from September 2006.

Pupil A was a pupil at the Dallam Avenue school from September 2007 until July 2010, returning in September 2011 to attend sixth form.

At some point between the academic years 2008 to 2010 Pupil A confided in Mr Shaw regarding her boyfriend at the time.

Pupil A said Mr Shaw added her on Facebook and MSN, and they began messaging each other.

He was then said to have sent the girl messages with sexual innuendoes and one or more videos of himself and/or another man engaging in a sexual act.

He also asked her to go to school wearing no underwear or tights and to sit in a way which meant he could look up her skirt.

He later asked Pupil A to send explicit videos of herself to him, and also invited the girl to his house for dinner and told her to keep her school uniform on for the visit.

In September 2012, Pupil A made a comment to another teacher regarding Mr Shaw, and she later reported the events to the same teacher and the deputy headteacher at the school.

The school made a referral to the Local Authority Designated Officer, and Mr Shaw was arrested and interviewed by the police.

He was suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation, but later left the school under a settlement agreement. Following the police investigation Mr Shaw was released without charge.

Between September and November 2014 Mr Shaw worked as a supply maths teacher for Lancashire Teaching Agency.

He went on to work at Pleckgate High School in Blackburn and at the Lakes School in Windermere. The Lakes School became aware of the allegations relating to Mr Shaw’s employment at Morecambe High and began an investigation.

They referred the matter to the TRA, and Mr Shaw resigned from the school in June 2019.

The TRA report said: "The panel was satisfied that these allegations were proved. The panel found Pupil A to be a credible witness.

"The panel acknowledged that Pupil A had given an account of this matter on a number of occasions at different times during a period of almost 10 years (to Morecambe High School, the police, the Lakes School and the TRA) and her account had remained consistent.

"Whilst Mr Shaw was not convicted of an offence, the panel considered that he had displayed behaviours associated with sexual activity, given the videos he sent to Pupil A and the nature of the messages that he sent her.

"The panel felt strongly about the allegations in this matter and, whilst it had not been asked to consider this, it felt that Mr Shaw’s behaviour was consistent with that of someone attempting to 'groom' a young person.

"Accordingly, the panel was satisfied that Mr Shaw was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct."

The panel recommended that Mr Shaw be banned from teaching but with a five year review into the sentence.

They said the fact that the teacher never made physical sexual contact with Pupil A and she was not 'seriously harmed by the conduct' deemed it to be not 'at the most serious end of the spectrum'.

But their decision was overturned by Sarah Buxcey from the Department for Education

She said: "In view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Shaw shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.

"In reaching my decision regarding a review period and taking into account, that the panel considered Mr Shaw’s conduct was done either in pursuit of sexual gratification or in pursuit of a sexual relationship and the fact that Mr Shaw had sent one or more sexually explicit videos to Pupil A and made sexual innuendoes.

"There was a lack of evidence to demonstrate insight or remorse to prevent behaviour of this type recurring in the future and no evidence as to Mr Shaw’s ability and history as a teacher.

"I feel that the panel have given too much weight to the fact that there was no physical contact with the pupil.

"After careful consideration and despite the consequences for Mr Shaw, I have decided that allowing for no review period is necessary to maintain public confidence in the profession and the protection of pupils and is proportionate.

"This means that Mr Shaw is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England."

Mr Shaw was not present at the hearing but denied the allegations.

Sally Kenyon, chief executive of The Bay Learning Trust, which now runs Morecambe Bay Academy, said: “These incidents happened at the predecessor school more than 10 years ago. The school has undergone significant changes since it opened as Morecambe Bay Academy in 2019.

"While we cannot comment on what happened in the past, the school now has an entirely new leadership team with strict safeguarding policies in place to ensure the safety of our students at all times. We hope parents recognise that these changes make the school a safe and caring environment to send their children.”